The author claims that this is the longest book available on SOL. He may be right but there is more to a book that just its word count and in any case, this is a rather dubious accolade for which to strive.
'Deja Vu Ascendancy' is very much like the curate's egg, good in parts. The good parts are very good indeed, well written, crisply presented and full of action. However, there is a 'but' and a large one it is. If ever a book needed an editor with big blue pencil, this is it! In between the good, relevant to the story passages are page after page of pseudo-scientific lecture notes, for lack of a better expression, which do nothing but pad out the word count. There may be some readers who wish to plough through every single one of them but I do think that they will be in the minority.
This book is well worth reading but skipping the really turgid and long winded passages is essential. If you are prepared to use your discretion and either skim over or totally disregard about 40% of the total, you are in for a very good read.
Mr. Author, it pains me to criticise your tome, especially when so much of it is excellent, but you do need an editor to take out the slightly boring and unnecessary sections. Then you will have a splendid book bearing your name.
Please do write another one for us to enjoy but I do urge you to keep it focused and relevant.
Reviewed: 2010-04-10 - (Review Updated: 2013-03-26)
Okay, let's get the obvious out of the way: "Deja Vu Ascendancy" is a long story, the longest on the site.
It's really, really, really, realllly, REALLY long. Like, mega-long. AscendingAuthor estimates it's the length of 40 novels. This isn't some 20-minute wank-fest, it's a commitment of several months.
But no story deserves to be judged solely by that measure. The question is, "Is this story worth the journey, and, if so, what's the best way to go about it?"
"Deja Vu Ascendancy" is a science fiction story with a coming-of-age center, and a generous portion of sexual content. AscendingAuthor has come up with an original plot and has done an impressive amount of research. He sets the ground rules for the pseudo-science at the heart of the story, then plays by those rules. This is no magic-ring or three-wishes-from-a-genie tale, and the protagonist's "powers" aren't something out of a comic book. Both he and the reader go through a long process of understanding what is happening, and what can be achieved.
Mark Anderson is having a miserable life. He's 14, a fairly average student but with nothing going right. Not seeing any reason to stick around, he decides to end it all.
As he lies in the family bathtub, watching his life slip away through the razor cuts he's put in each arm, he experiences a one-in-a-billion situation: his approaching death occurs during a moment of deja vu. And in AscendingAuthor's universe, deja vu isn't simply a fuzzy sense of having experienced something before, it's the mechanism by which events in one dimension are synced with those of a similar parallel dimension. As countless Mark Andersons across countless dimensions are committing suicide, two of them find themselves linked in that moment. One of the two did a better job of opening his veins and passes on, leaving the other shocked to find two nearly identical consciousnesses in his head.
Sensing that something interesting is happening, he aborts the suicide attempt. Life is still pretty miserable, but at least Mark now has a good friend: another Mark. His life improves, but he still feels like an outsider, and when he figures out the nature of his transformation, he doesn't pass up the opportunity during a future deja vu moment to again commit suicide and double his consciousness to four Mark minds.
Telling much more would spoil the plot, so suffice it to say, Mark's life takes off from there. Halfway through, the story takes a major emotional reboot. Two-thirds of the way through, it ceases to be a tale about a former loser flexing his new powers, and becomes much more. Suddenly, he finds himself up against the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, the Secret Service, the Bush Administration, the Mossad . . . even Oprah! . . . before finally ascending to (dare I say it?) Godhood.
Did it need to be this long? No, of course not; no story ever told needs to be 3.5 million words. There are chapters that read like a physics text book, others that feature monologues on ethical concerns that run on and on . . . yet those chapters are interspersed with action sequences that you won't want to stop reading. AscendingAuthor has the ability to push along the plot quite well, but also has a tendency to get bogged down.
Then there's the issue of what kind of company Mark is for 435 chapters. We're clearly meant to see him as a sympathetic character, but he can be pretty off-putting at times.
He berates peers and authority figures alike in a tone that would get his ass kicked in the real world. Ethics in this story tend to be of the Machiavellian variety, as in "If I can benefit from this, then it's ethical."
The truth is, cons, scams, manipulations and lies are at the heart of "Deja Vu Ascendancy." There's always a rationale given, and it's true that Mark suffers greatly at various points in the book. But by the final third, some readers may get a bit squeamish when Mark is getting all "Old Testament" on his adversaries.
Thin-skinned readers might also consider giving this one a pass, as AscendingAuthor takes constant aim at politicians, religion, the media and organized sports, among others topics.
As for stroke value, this could easily be marked as not applicable, since this just isn't a stroke story. On the other hand, it has an inordinate amount of sexual content, and when it's called for, AscendingAuthor proves capable of writing a very hot sex scene.
Bottom line: The best way to read "Deja Vu Ascendancy" is as it was posted, as a serial. I say that fully realizing that if you read one chapter a day, it would take more than 14 months to finish it, but it's a good way to avoid skimming some of the drier chapters, and makes the repetitious nature of some of the material presented not so much of a problem.
Whatever your approach, "Deja Vu Ascendancy" really is worth going along for the ride . . . a very long ride.
Reviewed: 2009-07-30 - (Review Updated: 2009-07-30)
I am a sucker for long stories and I started following the story from when the story exceeded 1000kb. My GOD!! This one is a long long long story, but very well written, especially from the technical aspect. Three and half million words and I think I found one or two typos.
And the plot was amazing. I mean, a totally novel idea. A must read for ESP fans. It is a stunning concept and I'm sure that there will be more authors who will write stories on this concept. Coming to stroke aspect, this story could have had lots more of stroke. There were enough opportunities to make this story half as much longer with just stroke. Even the sex that was written was not exactly erotic. But you are so immersed in the move of the story that you don't really notice the sex scenes. They are just a part of the story.
Overall, this story is a very good read and I would advise everyone to read this one.